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the form and the function March 18, 2010

Posted by Karīna Sīmane in Uncategorized.
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Last weekend I had the chance to visit Utrecht and see the exhibition of Alexander Van Slobbe at the Central Museum of Utrecht, the Netherlands.

If you are not familiar with the fashion industry and fashion design in general, there are some facts you should definitely know. Alexander van Slobbe (1959) is one of the pioneers who put the Netherlands on the map in the international world of fashion. Van Slobbe was always far ahead of his time. From the beginning of his career he has shown a constant interest in the design process, craftsmanship, quality and construction. In the fashion industry this trend only reemerged in the late nineties, as a reaction against the industrialization of fashion – technique and the creative hand was once again the main focus. Taking the forefront in the Netherlands, Alexander van Slobbe now serves as an important inspiration to present Dutch designers.
Alexander van Slobbe graduated cum laude at the art academy of Arnhem in the Netherlands. Since the late eighties, his designs have been admired worldwide in cities such as Paris, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Vienna, Stockholm and Hong Kong.

Van Slobbe is also known for his collaborations with other artists and labels like Marc Mulders, Makkum and PUMA.  He has his own brands, women’s fashion label Orson + Bodil (founded in 1988), which has a boutique in Amsterdam and was the first Dutch label to be sold in Barneys New York and Joseph in London, and men’s label SO (founded in 1993).

The exhibition is like a deep dive in Van Slobbe’s world. The exhibition not only displays his finished designs, but also gives insights in the creative processes. Retrospection in images and interviews, displaying black&white copies from different fashion magazines, provides a wonderful insight into Van Slobbe’s activities. Also the numerous samples on display tells  about designer’s ways of designing. There is a ‘real’ sewing workplace installed in the center of the exhibition space. When I was there a sewing course went on (for local citizens, who are interested in sewing). That also gave me a feeling that I am observing the process of creation. Not only seeing the past work of a designer.

Thus I really appreciate Van Slobbe’s passion for workmanship – embroideries and  weaving together different materials, the use of natural fabrics like silk and wool to create the garments that has a wonderful form and function at the same time. Van Slobbe shows that clothes can be very simple, without complexity in pattern, but have the quality of highlighting the wearer’s body and personality. All the unnecessary features can be deleted.

If you have a chance, go and see the exhibition of Alexander Van Slobbe at the Central Museum of Utrecht until the 16th of May, 2010.

Enjoy the pure forms and lines!